Dental emergencies come in many forms. A tooth could break, crack, become loose or be knocked out completely. A crown could come off, a filling fall out, or there can be tooth pain. Accidents happen, and having the proper knowledge can save your tooth.
Below you will find a list of a several dental emergencies and what you should do. For all emergencies, it is important to contact your Houston dentist as soon as possible. At Serene Dental Aesthetics, we have Saturday hours for your convenience.
Avulsed or Knocked Out Tooth
If a permanent tooth is knocked out, you will actually want to place it back into the socket if possible. Retrieve the tooth, but do not touch the root surface. If the tooth is dirty, gently rinse it with water. Do not scrub the root surface or remove any attached tissue fragments. Once rinsed off, place the tooth back into its socket. Check that it is facing the correct direction and never force it into the socket.
If you’re unable to place the tooth in its socket, then it needs to be kept moist. Put the tooth between your cheek and gums, in milk, in water with a pinch of salt, or use a special pH balanced solution called Save-A-Tooth if available. Then contact your Houston dentist immediately. The sooner your dentist sees you, the greater the chance of saving your tooth.
Partially Dislodged or Extruded Tooth
If you’re able, gently push the tooth back into its proper position and see your dentist immediately. Apply a cold compress to the outside of your mouth or cheek in the affected area to help with any pain and prevent or diminish swelling.
A Cracked Tooth
In the event of a cracked tooth, you’ll want to rinse your mouth with salt water to keep the area clean. A cold compress can be used to prevent or diminish any swelling. Then, of course, report to your dentist.
First, rinse your mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently floss to remove any possible food trapped between your teeth and gums. DO NOT put aspirin on your aching tooth or gums, as it can burn the gum tissue. Advil or Ibuprofen is a good over the counter pain medicine for dental issues. If the pain is severe or does not go away, contact your dentist.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries are any injury to the lips, tongue, cheeks or gums from a bite, cut, laceration or even a burn. Usually a soft tissue injury causes bleeding and needs to be controlled.
Here is what to do.
- Rinse out your mouth with mild salt-water solution.
- Use a moistened piece of gauze or tea bag to apply pressure to the bleeding site; hold in place for 15-20 minutes.
- Hold a cold compress to the outside of the mouth or cheek in the affected area for 5-10 minutes. This will help with both bleeding and pain relief.
If the bleeding does not stop, see your dentist right away or go to ER. Continue to apply pressure until seen or treated.
An abscess is an infection that occurs around the roof of a tooth or in a space between the teeth and gums. These infections can be serious and cause damage to surrounding tissue, bone and/or teeth. An abscess will present as a pimple-like swelling on your gum and is usually painful. It may also present as a large swelling of your upper cheek area or lower jaw. These infections have the possibility of spreading to other parts of the body if left untreated, so in these cases it is important to see your dentist as soon as possible.
In the meantime, rinse your mouth with salt water several times a day to keep everything clean. This can also help to ease some of the pain and draw the pus toward the surface.
Objects Stuck in the Mouth or Teeth
Try to gently remove it with floss or fingers. Do not use force or a sharp or pointed instrument. See your dentist or go to the ER as soon as possible.
If you have a dental emergency, please review the instructions above for your injury and determine if you need to go to the ER. If not, call us immediately at (281) 232-8300 and we will get you in as soon as possible.